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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Stoll, Michael A.; Bushway, Shawn D.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    The rapid rise in the nation’s incarceration rate over the past decade has raised questions about how to successfully reintegrate a growing number of ex-offenders. Employment has been shown to be an important factor in reintegration, especially for men over the age of 27 that characterize the majority of individuals released from prison. At the same time, there is substantial evidence that employers discriminate against ex-prisoners. One policy response that has received considerable attention is to deny employers access to criminal history record information, including movements to “ban the box” asking about criminal history information on job applications. The assumption underlying this movement is that knowledge of ex-offender status leads directly to a refusal to hire. An alternative view is that some employers care about the characteristics of the criminal history record, and use information about criminal history in a more nuanced, non-discrete way. This paper explores this question using unique establishment-level data collected in Los Angeles in 2001. On average, we...

    The rapid rise in the nation’s incarceration rate over the past decade has raised questions about how to successfully reintegrate a growing number of ex-offenders. Employment has been shown to be an important factor in reintegration, especially for men over the age of 27 that characterize the majority of individuals released from prison. At the same time, there is substantial evidence that employers discriminate against ex-prisoners. One policy response that has received considerable attention is to deny employers access to criminal history record information, including movements to “ban the box” asking about criminal history information on job applications. The assumption underlying this movement is that knowledge of ex-offender status leads directly to a refusal to hire. An alternative view is that some employers care about the characteristics of the criminal history record, and use information about criminal history in a more nuanced, non-discrete way. This paper explores this question using unique establishment-level data collected in Los Angeles in 2001. On average, we replicate the now common finding that employer initiated criminal background checks is negatively related to the hiring of ex-offenders. However, this negative effect is less than complete. The effect is strongly negative for those employers that are legally required to check. But some employers appear to check to gain additional information about ex-offenders (and thus hire more ex-offenders than other employers), while checking appears to have no affect on hiring ex-offenders for those employers not legally required to check. Therefore, initiatives aimed at restricting background checks for those firms not legally required to check may not have the desired consequences of increasing ex-offender employment. (author abstract)

    This article is based on working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan and the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin.

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1996

    In this paper I use data from a recent survey of employers to investigate the effects of employer skill needs on the wage levels and employment of newly hired workers, and especially on how these outcomes differ by race and gender. The skill needs are measured by various human capital credentials required of applicants at the hiring stage (educational attainment, specific experience, prior training) and by the daily task performance of those who are newly hired (reading/writing, arithmetic, use of computers).

    The results show that few new jobs are available to those workers who lack most of these credentials or who cannot perform most of these tasks. This is true even of jobs that do not require applicants to have college degrees.

    The hiring and task performance requirements of new jobs are associated with lower employment levels of blacks relative to whites within each gender, and some tasks are associated with higher employment levels of females relative to males. These requirements also have significant effects on starting hourly wages. Both effects are found...

    In this paper I use data from a recent survey of employers to investigate the effects of employer skill needs on the wage levels and employment of newly hired workers, and especially on how these outcomes differ by race and gender. The skill needs are measured by various human capital credentials required of applicants at the hiring stage (educational attainment, specific experience, prior training) and by the daily task performance of those who are newly hired (reading/writing, arithmetic, use of computers).

    The results show that few new jobs are available to those workers who lack most of these credentials or who cannot perform most of these tasks. This is true even of jobs that do not require applicants to have college degrees.

    The hiring and task performance requirements of new jobs are associated with lower employment levels of blacks relative to whites within each gender, and some tasks are associated with higher employment levels of females relative to males. These requirements also have significant effects on starting hourly wages. Both effects are found even after controlling for the educational attainments of hired workers.

    The effects of employer skill needs on employment patterns and wages help to account for some of the observed differences across groups in hourly wages, especially between black and white males, after controlling for education. Recent trends over time in relative wages and employment across these groups also seem to be quite consistent with these findings, along with evidence that these skill needs have been rising among employers.

    In addition, I find that various other employer characteristics such as their size, location, and the racial composition of their clientele also have significant effects on their tendencies to hire blacks. These findings suggest that employer preferences across racial groups play some role in determining employment outcomes of these groups, even after controlling for skill needs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Speiglman, Richard; Li, Yongmei
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Since California adopted the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program as the California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program in 1997, the composition of the California welfare population has changed radically. While at its onset the vast majority of CalWORKs cases included an aided adult, over half of CalWORKs cases now receive aid just for the children. The adults either never were eligible or have been excluded from cash aid and receipt of most services. The “child-only” cases include those with: 1) parents timed-out, having reached the five-year, lifetime limit on receipt of aid (safety net cases), 2) parents sanctioned for non-compliance with CalWORKs program requirements (sanction cases), 3) parents of citizen children who are themselves considered not-qualified immigrants (immigrant parent cases), 4) parents receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for themselves (SSI parent cases), and 5) nonparental caregivers.

    Parents associated with sanctioned and safety net cases were at one time “aided adults” on a...

    Since California adopted the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program as the California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program in 1997, the composition of the California welfare population has changed radically. While at its onset the vast majority of CalWORKs cases included an aided adult, over half of CalWORKs cases now receive aid just for the children. The adults either never were eligible or have been excluded from cash aid and receipt of most services. The “child-only” cases include those with: 1) parents timed-out, having reached the five-year, lifetime limit on receipt of aid (safety net cases), 2) parents sanctioned for non-compliance with CalWORKs program requirements (sanction cases), 3) parents of citizen children who are themselves considered not-qualified immigrants (immigrant parent cases), 4) parents receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for themselves (SSI parent cases), and 5) nonparental caregivers.

    Parents associated with sanctioned and safety net cases were at one time “aided adults” on a CalWORKs case. At some point, however, this status changed, and the parents lost aid. For safety net cases, this is because they “used up” their 60 months of lifetime CalWORKs aid. Sanctioned parents who may have received aid for any length of time short of 60 months became unaided when the county sanctioned them for non-compliance with welfare-to-work regulations. Parents and caregivers in the other three case types, however, because of their ineligibility, may themselves never have been aided.

    Lacking information about most child-only cases, and being concerned about the status of both parents/caregivers and children associated with these cases, the Child-only Study was initiated to promote sound CalWORKs policy and program through researching child-only and aided adult CalWORKs cases and informing policy-makers and CalWORKs program administrators about these low-income California families.

    This report is the second in a series presenting research on the composition, characteristics, and needs of child-only cases in California counties. Child-only Study Report #1 analyzed county administrative data to understand (1) the prevalence of subgroups of child-only cases by county, (2) the characteristics of family members comprising child-only cases by subgroup and by county, and (3) the patterns of history of receipt of aid by subgroup and by county. This second report is based on interviews with timed-out and sanctioned parents concerning personal, community, and family characteristics that may serve as barriers to work. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: The Lewin Group, Inc.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This report summarizes the findings from information collected during three sets of focus groups conducted for a study on employment supports for people with disabilities sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study is intended to increase the understanding of the role of various supports in helping people with disabilities find and maintain employment.

    The findings in this report are from focus groups conducted with 284 participants with significant disabilities, all of whom had obtained a measure of employment success, in Los Angeles, California; Newark, New Jersey; and Seattle/Tacoma, Washington, between April and December 2000. The focus groups were conducted between April and December 2000. All participants were 18 years old or older, had a significant disability with onset prior to first substantial employment, and had annual earnings of at least $8,240 before taxes and transfers. At the time of the focus groups, the latter was the federal poverty line for a...

    This report summarizes the findings from information collected during three sets of focus groups conducted for a study on employment supports for people with disabilities sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The study is intended to increase the understanding of the role of various supports in helping people with disabilities find and maintain employment.

    The findings in this report are from focus groups conducted with 284 participants with significant disabilities, all of whom had obtained a measure of employment success, in Los Angeles, California; Newark, New Jersey; and Seattle/Tacoma, Washington, between April and December 2000. The focus groups were conducted between April and December 2000. All participants were 18 years old or older, had a significant disability with onset prior to first substantial employment, and had annual earnings of at least $8,240 before taxes and transfers. At the time of the focus groups, the latter was the federal poverty line for a family of one.1 It is approximately equivalent to working 30 hours a week at the federal minimum wage. Basic socio-demographic, disability, and employment information was collected via a telephone screening instrument and a pre-focus group registration form.

    A slight majority of participants were male, and their average age was 38 at the time of interview. Just over half (55 percent) had experienced disability onset before age 13. Just over half were single, 61 percent were white, 16 percent were African-American, and 13 percent were of Hispanic ethnicity. While all had substantial earnings, 23 percent had annual earnings below $10,000. Median earnings were under $20,000. Only 7 percent had earnings above $50,000. Many lived in households with other income; median household income was about $40,000. The largest impairment category was mental illness (30 percent), followed by communication (21 percent) and mobility (19 percent) impairments.

    Prior to each focus group session, participants were asked to rank on a scale of 1 (very important) to 5 (not important) the importance of various supports in helping them find and maintain employment. About 75 percent (or more) of participants assigned a rank of 1 or 2 to each of five supports (listed in descending order): family encouragement; access to health insurance; skills development and training; college; and employer accommodations. Job coach services, personal assistance services (PAS) and special education ranked lowest, with more than 45 percent of participants assigning a rank of 4 or 5 to these supports.

    We asked focus group participants to discuss supports that were important to them at three critical periods of their lives: during childhood or at disability onset; obtaining first employment or first employment after disability onset; and in maintaining current employment. We present the findings from these focus groups below. Because we found that the supports used to obtain first employment and those used to maintain current employment were very similar, we have combined the discussion of these topics into one section. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: London, Rebecca A.; Mauldon, Jane G.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    In response to the 1996 federal overhaul of the welfare program for poor families with children, the State of California in 1997 created the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program. CalWORKs seeks to promote employment and self-sufficiency while reducing dependence on cash assistance. Adults receiving CalWORKs benefits are subject to a five-year time limit for cash assistance. In 2002, the Welfare Policy Research Project (WPRP) advisory board commissioned a study to examine the effects of sixty-month welfare time limits in California. This report is the second in a series from this ongoing study. (author abstract)

    In response to the 1996 federal overhaul of the welfare program for poor families with children, the State of California in 1997 created the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program. CalWORKs seeks to promote employment and self-sufficiency while reducing dependence on cash assistance. Adults receiving CalWORKs benefits are subject to a five-year time limit for cash assistance. In 2002, the Welfare Policy Research Project (WPRP) advisory board commissioned a study to examine the effects of sixty-month welfare time limits in California. This report is the second in a series from this ongoing study. (author abstract)

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